Monday, August 12, 2013

Grant's Tomb Practice, 8/11/13

I wasn’t at Pennsic this year. I was taking care of a sick relative in California. That sucks—the relative being sick more than missing Pennsic, but missing Pennsic stills sucks. Not only did I miss out on the socializing, the seeing my friends from the West Kingdom, the parties, my adopted family and loved ones—I also missed out on the twelve straight days of fighting! Pennsic is the best time of year for me in nearly every respect, but it is a fighting orgy. At the end of Pennsic, whether I’ve been there for one week or two, I have fought at least six days in a row and sometimes twelve, and it shows. My reflexes, timing, speed, footwork, everything is sharper at the end of Pennsic than at any other time of year. I feel like a God: an achy, beaten up, battered, bruised and sore God who can barely walk, but a God.

Pennsic is therefore the jumping off point for my training for Fall Crown, and missing that hurts a lot! But yesterday I finally got back into armor.

I did not fight in California but I did work out. I stayed with my cousin. She lives up on the side of a mountain in a Redneck paradise. They have cows and pigs and their yard is full of heavy things. I did lots of push ups and squats. I did curls and presses with a four inch thick steel drill shaft. I did cinder block workouts. I marched around holding a granite block over my head. I wrapped a tow chain around my shoulders and climbed the hillside. I kayaked. I hiked. I threw big heavy rocks. Best of all they had a heavy bag and an ax handle that balanced perfectly for pell work. But mostly I was there to lift my step father into and out of his wheel chair, which I did several times a day. In other words, I worked out.

Agrippa was asking some of the knights about me, and one of them said that I know fifty different techniques but I haven’t found my one technique. That’s a fair assessment, as I have acknowledged before. It is not entirely true—I have at various times had one technique that I used as my bread and butter shot, and I used it until it didn’t seem to work anymore and then developed another one. But I have always been something of a chameleon, and that has led to a lack of consistency. Lately, since I have been trying to fight more like an Easterner, I have tried to change that. For the past couple years I have been concentrating on two simple techniques—the hook thrust and the molinee cut from a hanging guard. While I’ve used other stuff to kill people with those have been my money shots (which is why I’ve been so frustrated that people seem not to count that hook thrust anymore). So that was what I was working on at fighter practice and, really, nothing else. I just wanted to knock the rust off. 

There were six people in armor yesterday: Myself, Agrippa, Damien, Grimm, Andrew, and Sam. Grimm I did not fight at all. Sam and Andrew are new fighters. I fought them with the buckler and was in training mode—mostly. Damien has been fighting for about 18 months. Agrippa was the only advanced fighter there besides me.

My fights with Andrew and Sam, as I said, were training sessions. I used the buckler so my targets would look big. I did get a little distracted fighting Sam, however. With his 32 inch heater and a mostly sword back guard, it was like fighting an old school Bellatrix or Old Castle fighter, and I started using Bellatrix techniques. I threw rising snaps, back hands, the upsilon leg shot, molinees—all stuff he would never see out here and was really unable to defend. I dialed it back after a while when I realized I was having too much fun.

Damien has been fighting BOTN and his fighting has suffered a bit. He always had focus problems, but he had technique before. Now he’s lost that. Making that switch seems to be hard for a lot of fighters.

Agrippa and I fought ten fights. He was just coming off Pennsic and was even faster and more aggressive than usual, which is a lot. Our first fight he totally mugged me. I was outclassed. He beat me three times again, once with a thrust. Then I got out of training mode, tightened up, and went back to counter punching and setting up my two main attacks. I never hit him with the hook thrust but I killed three in a row, two with that saber cut. Then we took a break for a bit. When we fought again, I won all three of those fights as well. So he won our first four fights and then I won six in a row, mostly by finding my focus.

After that I did some unarmored training with Grimm and Katy.

It is 83 days until Fall Crown. I will be in armor this Sunday, but I don’t know where, either Iron Bog or at the barbecue at Count Horic’s 

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